Keeping My Furloughed Employees Motivated Until Returning to Work

By April 19, 2020 May 5th, 2020 COVID-19

We have all heard that communication is one of the most important skill sets that a leader can use. In the case of this pandemic, communicating with furloughed as well as active employees is even more critical.

Motivation is Key


It is imperative for your employees who are on furlough to stay as motivated as possible so they will be in the best frame of mind when you bring them back to work. There are no magic tricks to accomplish this difficult task, but there are some effective tools that you can use. These management techniques will let them know that you are concerned about their well-being and have plans to bring them back to work when your business turns around.

There are several no-cost tools that we recommend:

Direct Communication

Depending on how many managers/supervisors you have on furlough, you should personally call them at least every 7 to ten days to first check on how they and their families are weathering this pandemic. Then try to share a good piece of positive but realistic news about the business. It can be a supplier who has been able to continue servicing your needs or a good customer who is still requesting some of your products or services.

Inbox Check-ins

Another communication tool that you can implement without cost is sending emails to both active and furloughed  employees. You can let them know what you are doing to make improvements while the business is down or a new strategy that you want to implement after the pandemic has passed. You should also ask for their opinions on these new strategies to help keep them emotionally involved in your business. In all communications both verbally and written, you must not be overly positive. But it is imperative that you as their leader show that you are confident that you will be able to guide the company through this crisis.

Keep In Touch

Most small businesses are not adequately communicating with their employees, so beat your competitors who may be trying to steal your best employees from you. With this in mind, it is to your advantage to let the employees hear from you on a regular basis and show positive leadership. Demonstrating negative leadership rarely improves a situation. Even if you are NOT in a positive frame of mind, give your employees the impression that you are. Your employees need that from their leader.

Author: Emory Mulling

Emory Mulling is a nationally recognized HR Consultant and Executive Coaching expert. As Founder and Chairman for the Mulling Corporation, the Mulling family of businesses is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm was founded in 1986 and is a leader in HR consulting for small, medium and large companies.

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